Duterte: PH owes debt of gratitude to China for free COVID-19 vaccines

By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: PCOO

Amid rising tension in territorial waters, it will not wage a war against the Chinese republic since the Philippines has a huge debt of gratitude, President Rodrigo Duterte said.

"Sabi ko, I am stating for the record, we don’t want war with China. China is a good friend, mayroon tayong utang na loob na marami, pati na yung bakuna natin. So China, let it be known China is a good friend and we don’t want trouble with them especially with war," Duterte said during his weekly address, citing China’s commitments to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

"But there are things that are not subject to compromise kagaya yung ginawang pag-atras-atras. Mahirap po yan, sana they will understand but I have the interest of my country to protect. It might not be an armed might but it is a claim of sovereignty which I cannot, 'yan nandyan na 'yon.”

He also said that authorities will observe the actions made by China in the country’s exclusive economic zone.

"Tignan natin kung anong gawain natin at ginawa nila. Let us compare it to evolving na nangyayari pa. Now, let's see what happens.  China must understand that if need be, we will be. I don't know what will happen next," he added.

U.S. ‘puro salita lang’?

In the same address, Duterte slammed the United States for alleged failure to help the Philippine Coast Guard in asserting the sovereign rights within the West Philippine Sea.

Despite the claims, the U.S. said it is waiting for the signal to help in addressing the presence of Chinese vessels in the EEZ.

"Ako sabihin ko China, you know China... We can always call Americans but in so many instances puro salita lang that could have been a moment to show the world that they are with us by sending their superior ships. Bakit hindi nila ginawa?" Duterte said.

In April, the US Navy Strike Group went to the South China Sea amid the presence of 220 vessels along the Julian Felipe Reef which is within the Philippine zone.

According to the West Philippine Sea task force, there are still Chinese vessels occupying the islands.

Amid counts of protests, China dismissed the 2016 arbitrary ruling that invalidating the nine-dash-line territorial claim at the South China Sea. The Chinese government said it is normal for its vessels to occupy the reef since it is a part of Nansha Islands.


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